Health policy to include Community Drug Programme

Renu Kshetry

Kathmandu, February 7:

In order to ensure a regular supply of essential drugs in health posts, the government is planning to include the Community Drug Programme (CDP) in the forthcoming amended health policy.

The CDP started eight years without any concrete rules and regulations. According to the Ministry of Health, the government’s yearly supply of drugs to health organisations lasts three to four months only. “The programme is a success and the MoH is including the CDP for the first time in its health policy to be announced soon so that the programme can be extended to other districts to end the shortage of drugs,” said Dr Harinath Acharya, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health.

According to the MoH, there are 84 government hospitals, 75 district public health offices, 188 primary health centres, 697 health posts and 3,129 sub-health posts. The government provides Rs 25,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 75,000 worth of drugs yearly to primary health posts, health posts and sub-health posts respectively which do not last for more than four months. “The MoH is also planning to identify the shortage of drugs in some districts and necessary steps will be taken to provide drugs in each district at the earliest,” said Acharya. According to the amendment, a sector for the CDP will be formed under the Ministry of Health. At present, the CDP covers 30 districts and is planning to extend it to Dolakha, Ramechhap, Bajhang and Makwanpur districts.

The CDP was started with the motive of providing drugs and treatment at a cheap price.

The patients are given full medication according to the disease and are also provided free drugs. Bhogendra Raj Dotel, the public health administrator at Logistics Management Division said the price charged from those who can afford would be used for a revolving fund to purchase drugs.

The districts sans the CDP provide drugs free of cost to all, which results in the shortage of drugs. The CDP started with the support of the UNICEF to provide essential drugs to the needy for the whole year. The programme first started in Morang, Kaski and Banke. The health posts provide free drugs to Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Cancer patients.

“At present, the programme is fully dependent on donors but for its effective implementation the programme has to be endorsed by the government,” said Dotel.